More from Christian music newcomer Jonathan Cain on his 35 years in legendary rock band Journey—a follow-up to CCM Magazine’s Nov. 1, 2016 feature
Longtime Journey songwriter-keyboard player-rhythm guitarist Jonathan Cain may have just made his Christian music debut with What God Wants To Hear (Identity Records—buy), though he continues to juggle solo offerings alongside 35 years of membership in his full time band. Given that intimate association with one of the globe’s most successful groups of all time, CCM Magazine couldn’t resist asking the veteran musician a few rock n’ roll-related questions spanning his famous songs, former singer Steve Perry, plus a candid glimpse into the mammoth touring juggernaut that still sports the motto “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
CCM Magazine: Can you describe this whole wild ride known as Journey from the time you joined through today? What does this look like being in one of the world’s biggest rock bands?
Jonathan Cain: It was phenomenal, supernatural, blessed by God, an increase in favor beyond your wildest dreams. Playing at the Rose Bowl, playing at all these huge concerts, Golden Gate Park for 300,000 people and just this last gig for 50,000 at AT&T Park was fantastic. You can’t describe it. It’s bigger than anything…I’m on 35 years now. God never turned His back on us even in our darkest times. There was always hope. When [original guitarist/songwriter] Neal [Schon] and I put the band back together in ‘98, it was God that told me somebody wanted Journey again. With or without Steve Perry, that music was bigger than all of us and all of our disagreements and all of our fall outs and it had to carry on. I believed it, he believed it and we made it happen. It took determination and it wasn’t easy. We had to start from the bottom, but we did it. And what really Journey is about is an army of people that you can’t forget. It’s the radio disc jockeys that spun the records, it’s the program directors, it’s the label, it’s the warehouse people that put the records in stores and it’s the fans.
When other bands were making sexy videos running around on sail boats, we were inventing video screens for the big stage. Nocturne [the group’s video production and management company] was where people wanted to come. It was always a higher level and the records we made are still popular because they were made in a soulful, effortless way. It took no effort at all to make those records. They were absolutely pure. I mean that’s how good the band was. It was all live in the studio. We made Escape (buy) for $80,000. It’s one of the most well-rehearsed bands in the world. Every note that Steve Perry sang was put in a certain place so it seemed effortless but impossible to duplicate. The way Neil played, the way [drummer] Steve Smith performed, the whole band was like being a part of the Blue Angels with absolute synchronized flying.
READ | “Don’t Stop Believin'” – The Faith Journey Of Jonathan Cain (as part of the Nov. 1, 2016 edition, CCM Magazine)
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